Pathway to Peace Pt1: April 24, 2022 ShenUMC 9am Service

Sunday Worship Services:

Sanctuary & online - 9AM and 10:45 AM

Apr. 24, 2022

Pathway to Peace

“The New Covenant”

Jeremiah 31:27-34; 1 Corinthians 15:1–5

1.  Introduction:

     a.  The foundation of the Christian faith is a person and an event. The Jesus and the Resurrection!

          i.  It’s not the Old Testament. 

          ii.  It's not the New Testament.

          iii.  It’s a person and an event that is documented in a book.

     b.  The Bible documents Gods existence, it does not determine God’s existence. 

2.  Covenants:

     a.  A covenant was similar to what we would call a contract, treaty, or a will.

          > Each covenant established the basis of a relationship, conditions and promises for that relationship, and consequences if those conditions were unmet.

     b.  Old Testament:

          i.  The Noahic Covenant: This covenant promises the preservation of humanity and provides for the restraint of human evil and violence. (Genesis 9)

          ii.  The Abrahamic Covenant: This is the most central to the biblical story. God promises Abraham a land, descendants, and blessing which would extend through him to all the peoples of the earth. (Genesis 12, 15)

          iii.  The Mosaic Covenant: This is the covenant God establishes with the people of Israel at Mt. Sinai after Moses led them out of Egyptian slavery. 

               >God supplies the Law (Commandments) that is meant to govern and shape the people of Israel in the Promised Land. (Exodus 19, 24

               >  It was conditional and defined blessings and curses based on obedience or disobedience. (Deuteronomy 28, 29)

          iv.  The Davidic Covenant: This is the covenant where God promises a descendant of David to reign on the throne over the people of God. 

               >This covenant becomes the basis for hope of a Messiah and makes sense of the Gospels’ concern to show Jesus was the rightful King of the Jews. (2 Samuel 7)

     c.  New Testament:

“The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.”

 (Jeremiah 31:31-34)

          i.  The New Covenant: With this covenant, God promises rescue and renewal of the exiled people of God in Babylon and promises a coming day when God would make a new covenant unlike the one which Israel had broken. It will provide for…

               > Forgiveness of sin

               > Internal renewal of the heart

               > Intimate knowledge of God

“Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, Take this and divide it among yourselves…This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”  (Luke 22:14-23)

          ii.  On the night of Jesus’s Last Supper, Jesus takes the cup and declares that his death would be the inauguration of this new covenant.

     d.  The old covenant was governed by a law that prescribed correct behavior and that the people continually broke. 

          i.  It contained a sacrificial system that only temporarily removed sins.

          ii.  Only the High Priest had direct access to God.

          iii.  It was only for the Jewish people.

     e.  The new covenant is governed by a law that is internalized by the people of God and energized by His Spirit. 

          i.  The sins of the people are forgiven and removed once and for all by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

          ii.  The people of God have direct, intimate access to Him. 

          iii.  The Gentiles who believe are now included in the New Covenant.

3.  When Christianity was first introduced to the Gentiles, it didn’t come with the complexity of the Old Testament.

     a.  It was a simple message

          i.  God sent His Son, Jesus, who revealed a new way for everyone. 

          ii.  Paul began preaching to the Gentiles without reference to the old covenant. 

          iii.  His message was simple: The Gospel

“Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve.”  (1 Corinthians 15:1–5)

          iv.  That was all you needed to know to believe.

     b.  Judaizers came behind Paul and tried to tie this new covenant to the old covenant.

          i.  They taught that, in order for a Christian to truly be right with God, he must conform to the Mosaic Law, be circumcised as a necessity for salvation. 

          ii.  Gentiles had to become Jewish first, and then they could come to Christ.

     c.  Paul was adamant: No! The old covenant paved the way to the new, but the new covenant is new.

     d.  The “Church Council” meets at Jerusalem to make a formal decision as recorded in Act 15. (50 AD)

          i.  The Decision: Replacing the old covenant with the new covenant leaves the Gentiles with two things.

               > Don’t offend your Jewish neighbors with your diet.

               > Avoid sexual immorality.

4.  Conclusion

     a.  The first generation had the Gospel and Jesus’ commands—commands which first appeared as unrealistic and unattainable. 

     b.  Jesus issued several of these commands that ultimately hung on extraordinary trust in God to attain: Do Not… Fear… Doubt… Judge… Sin… Worry…

     c.  Possible? Yes! It was this extraordinary trust that led the first-generation Christians, combined with their love for one another, that created the movement that changed the world and provided a pathway to peace in the midst of extraordinarily difficult circumstances.

     d.  If Jesus is who he said he was—and now that he has risen from the dead, we know he is who he said he was—then of course we would follow his commandments.

     e.  Suddenly, what sounded so extreme wasn’t extreme at all and made all those other complex commandments unnecessary. 

     f.  His followers captured them, lived them, experienced peace, and then shared them to us.